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Subject: Uncle Morgoth's advice to young master Sauron rss

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Tom Grant
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Sauron, why don't you put down that elf you're torturing and sit over here with your old Uncle Morgoth. I got a few things to tell you that might help you the next time those annoying hero types try to kick sand in your face.

The Story Track IS the map.
Let's take a look at the map of Middle Earth for a second. Pretty, isn't it? Look at all the different locations...

!!!SMACK!!! No, you should be looking at the Story Track.You're running a race there, so that track is the map that really matters. Your chances to beat those pesky heroes depends on winning that race.

Winners pace themselves
So, you think you can run fast? Show me how long it takes you to sprint to the top of the Dark Tower and back.

Wow, that was pretty quick! !!!SMACK!!! Being fast isn't enough. You have to beat the heroes, but beat them at the right moment. You need to calculate when you'll fulfill your secret mission. That's when you need to cross the finish line to trigger the endgame.

Plan your plots
Good, it looks like I've driven some sense through that thick helmet of yours. Now, tell me this: is it better to have one story marker zip to the end of the track, or all three reach the Shadow Falls space?

Stumped? Take a look at the Story Track again.!!!SMACK!!!Sorry, I just wanted to distract you for a second. Seriously, I want you to look at the Story Track again.No, really, I won't hit you this time.

The right answer is, "It all depends on the plot cards I get at the beginning of the game." It should be pretty obvious from what you draw if it's better to go the one-marker or three-marker route. Once you choose, it won't be easy to switch.

Always be poised to place a plot
Now, you'd have to be dumber than a cave troll to miss the next point: You gotta keep placing plot cards. That means, as tempting as it might be to chase heroes with minions, or build elaborate networks of influence, the most important thing you can do each turn is make sure you're in a position to have 3 plots going.

Stay on top of plot requirements
Now that you've drawn a couple of plot cards, why don't you go ahead and play one?

!!!SMACK!!! You forgot to check the requirements. Well, lookee here, you need a monster in Osgiliath, but you don't have one. You're going to have a lot of things to keep track of, but forgetting to check the requirements for a plot card is probably the biggest mistake you can make. You can't afford to lose step with the heroes on the Story Track that way.

Defend your plots
Think you got your plot mojo going? Ready to take on the heroes?

!!!SMACK!!!!Come on, don't cry, by now you should be able to see those coming.

All better? Good. The flip side of placing plots is defending them. Placing stacks of influence token to make spaces perilous, dropping monsters in the path to your plot locations, moving minions around to threaten the heroes--these are the critical tools at your disposal.

And they're not there to fight offensive battles. Instead, you need to think of them first as the wall you build around your plots.

Fit your strategy to your opponents
Now, if you had your choice, is it better to defend a plot by making the space perilous, placing a monster into it, or moving a minion into it?

Minions, huh? Yeah, they are pretty tough...

!!!SMACK!!!There's no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. It all depends on who the heroes are. See that dumb dwarf? If he couldn't find his way out of a paper sack with a battleaxe, he's going to have a tough time getting through a briar patch of perilous locations. You don't want to throw monsters and minions at him, because to him, they're just waiting to be carved up faster than he could slice a heaping portion of Aunt Shelob's famous Spam casserole with that axe of his.

The death of a thousand cuts
But, you gotta admit, those minions are pretty tough. If you have the opportunity to smack a hero around with one, it's always a good idea to do it...

!!!SMACK!!! Think, you red-eyed stepchild! Winning battles doesn't get you anything, inherently. The real point is to continue bleeding the heroes of precious resources--time, life pool, movement. A lot of little battles with monsters might do the job just as effectively as a big battle with a minion. Plus, except for the dudes in the Nazgul gang colors, once a minion dies, he's gone for good. And you can put a monster wherever you have influence, but you might have to move a minion several times to force a battle with a hero.

So, remember: Bleed, not kill. And in individual battles, you don't have to win, just not lose.

Got it? OK, that's enough of me yakking at you for one day. Why don't you go play with that shiny new Ring we got you. And tell that Balrog friend of yours to stay out of my rosebushes.
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Sean D.
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This is reminiscent of the "Screwtape letters" by C.S Lewis. Nice read over lunch.
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David desJardins
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I disagree with most of the advice here.
 
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Freelance Police
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DaviddesJ wrote:
I disagree with most of the advice here.


!!!SMACK!!!
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Matt Smith
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Ignore David; he's been quite argumentative lately. You should see how he chewed on my thread suggesting using the Advanced Dominance optional rule.

Most of the OP's advice is solid. I've seen Sauron win 4 of 5 games using many of these strategies. The hero players haven't been slacking off either, so at least some of this must have merit.
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Everett Scheer
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DaviddesJ wrote:
I disagree with most of the advice here.


Really? Points taken away:
1) The Story track is paramount to anything else
2) Completing your mission isn't a race
3) Plan how you play your plots in advance
4) Plots are more important than your actions
5) use influence and minions to protect your plots
6) Change your strategy based on what heroes are in play
7) a couple monsters are just as good as a minion

I agree with points 1,3,4,5 and 6. For 2, it depends on the mission (the 3 plots and 6 influence in the shire can take this approach while the other 3 you have to focus on more early).

On the topic of minions, I believe they should be used in a defensive sense, but you don't need to completely avoid combat. monsters are really not as good as a minion. A minion can occupy a hero for multiple turns, while a monster will *at best* occupy one for 1 turn.
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David desJardins
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Elgar wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
I disagree with most of the advice here.


Really?


No, probably not really. It depends what you count as "advice" and what you consider "stating the obvious". He says lots of things that are mostly true but are overstated.
 
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Matt Smith
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Elgar wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
I disagree with most of the advice here.


Really?


No, probably not really. It depends what you count as "advice" and what you consider "stating the obvious". He says lots of things that are mostly true but are overstated.

"Obvious" is relative. You're obviously a smart, insightful person. Don't assume everyone else who has played, or wants to play Sauron, is as smart and insightful as you. The OP's advice is well intentioned and, if nothing else, a good start for any Sauron player's bag of tools.
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Greg Forster
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"When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning" - Dr. Reiner Knizia
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Quote:
Aunt Shelob's famous Spam casserole


Priceless.
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